Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
Now lemme take a minute,
Just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I rebuilt the wall in a town called..Judah
Ok, this post is not about the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It’s about a man named Nehemiah. He was living large in Susa (modern day Iran). He had a great job working directly for the king. He was comfortable. Then, he found out that his hometown was in trouble. The walls of Jerusalem were broken and burned. He knew this city was important to God, and his heart ached to do something about it.
He prayed and fasted, and God gave him favor with the king, who bank-rolled Nehemiah’s trip home, provided supplies to rebuild the wall, and sent ninjas alongside him for protection. Ok, they were army officers. Still awesome.
When Nehemiah got there, he immediately faced opposition from people who did not worship God, and therefore did not approve of the wall being rebuilt. He answered their taunts and threats with a simple statement of faith. “The God of heaven will give us success.” (2:20)
Nehemiah made a plan. He had people work rebuilding sections of the wall closest to their homes, because he knew they would do a better job and be more motivated if they had a personal connection. The opposition grew angry as they saw the progress. “They all plotted together to come up and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it”-Nehemiah 4:8
What was Nehemiah’s response? “We prayed to our God AND posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (4:9)
As the enemy turned up the heat, the Jews responded by calling out to God AND by having a strong defense in place. They decided that half of the men would work on rebuilding the wall, and half would stand ready to fight those that came against them. Day and night they stood guard.
The opposition didn’t stop. They tried to intimidate, distract, and bully Nehemiah, but he held firm to the knowledge that God had called him to do this work. He would not back down.
52 days later, the project was complete. Nehemiah’s enemies slunk away in defeat, and acknowledged that God had protected the rebuilding of his wall.
This story speaks to me, especially because I know God has given me a project to do. I have a book to write. God has given me the inspiration, the passion, and the means to write in a way that will honor Him and draw people close to Him. I have no doubt that I’m supposed to do it.
But…it will take more than prayer. It will take stepping out in faith. It will take hours and weeks and months of hard work. Every day. It means that I have to defend against my own opposition: distraction, discouragement, doubt, and laziness.
What is the project God has given you to do? Who (or what) will take any opportunity to get in the way? What safeguards can you put up against them?
We have to have “strategery”. Failing to plan is planning to fail. As I just read on someone’s Facebook, “You get what you work for, not what you wish for”.
First and foremost, we have to be convinced that God is behind our plan. We stay humble and connected to him, praying often and being willing to listen. We must be fully committed, not drifting away from our goal when it’s not fun or instantly gratifying. We probably will need help and accountability along the way (Julie? Debbie?). When opposition comes, and it will, our complete confidence in God’s ability to see it through will be what drives us to keep pushing.
It will not be easy. It will be worth it.
Again: what project, dream, or goal has God given you? Can you picture the awesome results of your hard work and dedication?
Go for it. Sweat. Trust. Struggle. Don’t give up. God has big plans for you.